The word “Japan” can be roughly translated to “Land of the Rising Sun.” It is called にほん (Nihon) or にっぽん (Nippon) in Japanese and Kanji and is written as 日本. Unlike most other languages of the east, indeed of the world, Japanese is acknowledged as “a language isolate.” It means it is not related to any different language. The Japanese, along with Ryukyuan languages, is spoken in the Ryukyu Islands of Southern Japan.
Several defunct and other vernacular languages and dialects are widespread in different parts of Japan. They belong to the Japonic language family. Japanese, also known as Nihongo, is spoken by around 130 million people around the world. Almost 98% of the native Japanese speakers live in Japan. It is also the native language of a portion of the populations in the US, Philippines, China, Korea, Brazil, England, Canada, etc.
Japanese is the 9th most spoken language globally, and it’s the sixth-largest on the Internet.
There are several distinct local languages in Japan and sometimes, some of them can be quite incomprehensible. They are mutually intelligible to people from other parts of Japan. However, nearly all citizens can communicate using a standard form of the Japanese language.
There is no denying that learning Japanese takes effort and money. More importantly, it takes time. The Japanese language has 3 alphabet systems (Hiragana — Native Japanese words, Katakana — Foreign words, and Kanji — adopted Chinese characters). Students of the Japanese language can also speak at the elementary level with Katakana, Hiragana, and Rōmaji. For those students who aim to achieve a higher level of competence to acquire a high-paying Japanese specialist job, you need to learn approximately 1,500 to 2,000 Kanji.
Why Learn Japanese in College: Career Prospects
Japan is one of the biggest investors in India. A powerhouse in many sectors of the global economy, Japan leads in consumer electronics, automobile, infrastructure, shipbuilding, semiconductor, optical media, and more. Therefore, there is ample scope and enough job opportunities after learning the Japanese language in India. Many Japanese companies have set up bases in India and students of the Japanese language can put down their names among the high-paid employee registers in these companies.
The ability to speak Japanese will boost the professional value of students. Here are some career and job opportunities students can achieve with their expertise in Japanese.
- Translation and interpretation
- Japanese teaching/ training
- Outbound process/ Voice coordination
- Jobs in embassies and the government sector
- Flight attendant and other jobs in the aviation industry
- Sales representative/ service agent/ export sector
- Hospitality industry/ tour guide
- Work at a Japanese MNC/ IT company
- Pursue higher studies in Japan
- Work in Japan
Universities Offering Japanese Courses
The incredibly beautiful country of Japan has a rich history and a unique culture, a mélange of traditional and modern practices. Learning the Japanese language opens the doors to learning about the rich culture and history of Japan. Students can start young. Many Indian schools encourage their students to take up foreign languages. School students can opt for Japanese language courses to get a headstart on their language training.
There is hardly anyone who doesn’t know sushi, karaoke, manga, Pokemon, bonsai, origami, nintendo, and many more.
Some of the most globally successful characters like Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Mario, Sailor Moon, Pikachu, Goku, Dragon Ball Z, Astro Boy were created in Japan. From J-pop to enthralling Movies, Beautiful house of worship to entertaining sumo, delicious cuisine to mesmerizing mountains, lively animation to enjoyable comics, Japan continues to offer plenty to the world!
Proficiency in the Japanese language helps to build perspective on Japanese etiquettes, values, discipline, customs, religious beliefs, ethics, manners, traditions, and aesthetics. Pursue your passion for learning about Japan by taking up a course in the Japanese language as you enter university.
It is not only an enriching learning experience for students but such a degree or diploma course in college can open several career doors for students once they graduate from university. With that in mind, let us explore the most popular Japanese language courses offered by universities and colleges in India.
JNU Japanese Courses
Jawaharlal Nehru University has always been at the forefront of pathbreaking educational courses. It was one of the first universities in India to introduce a Japanese language course in its Centre of Afro-Asian Languages (CAAL) in the School of Language, Literature, and Culture Studies in 1973. The original one-year certificate course in Japanese was upgraded into a full-time five-year integrated program leading to an M.A. degree in the next year. The Center emphasizes the learning of Japanese literature, culture, society, and religion in which the Center has made a niche in national as well as international circles. The Center also offers M.Phil/P.hD programs, which were introduced in the year 2006.
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The original center of CAAL was bifurcated in the mid-1980s, giving rise to the Centre of East Asian Languages (CEAL) consisting of the schools for the learning of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. The CEAL was further bifurcated and the Center for Japanese and Northeast Asian Studies (CJNEAS) came into existence, with Japanese, Korean and Mongolian Languages in 1995. CJKNEAS was again bifurcated into two independent Centers, i.e., Centre for Japanese Studies (CJS) and Centre for Korean Studies (CKS).
IGNOU Japanese Classes
IGNOU Certificate in the Japanese Language is a one-year program of 16 Credits. The program aims at providing beginners with the basics of the Japanese Language. The objective of the program is to introduce learners to the basics of Japanese grammar and phonetics so that they can read, write, listen and speak Japanese in an accurate manner. The program is bilingual (Japanese/English) in medium and has Self Learning Material integrated with Audio-Visual components which will further enhance the learning capacity of students.
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Department of Japanese Studies, Doon University
Doon University is only one of three universities in North India to be offering courses in the Japanese language. The Department of Japanese Studies consists of a committed faculty and innovative curriculum designed by experts from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Delhi University (DU). The Department offers a five-year Integrated MA course in Japanese Studies and a one-year certificate course in the Japanese Language.
A Glimpse of the Modules
- Japanese Sounds and Oral expressions
- Introduction to Japanese scripts
- Basic sentence patterns
- Spoken Japanese
- Introduction to Japan
- Reading Comprehension
- History of Japan
- Indo Japan Relation I (Elective)
- Contemporary Japan and Japanese Society
- Newspaper Japanese
- Essay and Letter Writing
- Introduction to Japanese Literature
- Literary Criticism
- Introduction to Japanese Linguistics
- Methodology of Teaching the Japanese Language
Japanese cultural activities are an integral part of the curriculum. Various academic and cultural activities are organized by the Department for a better understanding of Japanese culture and tradition. The Department also organizes activities in collaboration with the Japan Foundation, New Delhi. In addition to academics, Japanese movie screenings, educational tours, lectures by eminent professors from different Universities like JNU and DU are also organized. Native Japanese teachers are regularly engaged for a better understanding of the subject. Students are awarded various scholarships from the Japanese Government to experience and enhance knowledge of the Japanese language, culture, tradition, and society.
Department of East Asian Studies, Delhi University
The Department of East Asian Studies is part of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Delhi. M.A. in Japanese is one of the two postgraduate courses on offer at the Department. The Department also offers inter-disciplinary doctoral research programs in East Asian Studies and Chinese, Japanese and Korean Studies offering opportunities in diverse areas such as history, culture, language, literature, society, economics, politics, and international relations. The Department is equipped with a state-of-the-art Language Lab, which has a rich
collection of audio and video teaching materials. The departmental library has over 80,000 books and a number of prominent journals in English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
Learn Japanese with the help of video games.
The Two Year Programme of Master of Arts in Japanese is divided into two parts, each part consisting of two semesters. Some of the modules offered across the four semesters include:
- General Linguistics
- Theory and Practice of Translation
- Cultural History of Japan
- Introduction to Kambun
- Introduction to Kobun
- Guided Speaking and Interpretation
- Study of Representative Works
Nippon Bhavan, Visva Bharati University
Nippon Bhavana a multi-disciplinary center for learning and fostering Indo-Japanese relations. It has an area of shared interest with all the faculties of Visva-Bharati. At present, the Department of Japanese Studies, which is under Vidya Bhavana, is housed at Nippon Bhavana. The Department is equipped with a library of its own consisting of books, mostly in Japanese, as well as in English and other languages. The books are about the different aspects of Japanese culture, Indo-Japanese relations, and so on.
Nippon Bhavana, in collaboration with Japan Foundation, regularly invites visiting scholars, artists, scientists from Japan, arranges seminars and symposia on Japanese culture and Indo-Japanese cultural relations, organizes Indo-Japanese cultural functions, sends academic and cultural tours to Japan, and receives academic and cultural troupes from Japan. The Advisory Body, in charge of all these activities, also organizes Indo-Japanese festivals.
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